A proposed LEED 2012 credit has the roofing industry worried about being able to fulfill sustainability goals on commercial projects. The “Avoidance of Chemicals of Concern” credit would effectively de-select over 90% of the most common roofing membranes and nearly 90% of the most common roof insulations currently used in nonresidential construction in North America, according to the National Roofing Contractors Association.
The roofing industry is deeply concerned about its ability to deliver suitable materials for LEED projects under the proposed LEED changes. In fact, the industry says the new credit could undermine sustainability goals. One negative outcome is that alternate roofing materials may not provide equivalent service life, thereby increasing overall environmental impact by accelerating roof replacement cycles.
Other areas of concern include:
· Substitution of materials may not provide equivalent protection from water intrusion, thereby increasing the potential for toxic mold growth in buildings.
· Elimination of the most thermally efficient roof insulations available today could lead to a potential reduction in building energy efficiency.
· Elimination of the most effective reflective roofing membranes that rely on Titanium Dioxide to reflect sunlight could lead to a decrease in the use of “cool” roofing systems.
The industry strongly recommends that the credit be omitted from the final version of LEED 2012 and continued as a Pilot Credit. It would also like to see the formation of a larger and broadly-based consensus group to develop a step-by-step approach to addressing chemicals of concern in roofing materials.